Dear Faculty and Staff Members:

According to Michigan public health officials and the Centers for Disease Control, influenza activity continues to rise in the United States and most of the country is now experiencing high levels of influenza-like-illness. Here at Kettering, we have no confirmed cases, however, we anticipate they will begin to appear very soon now that A-section students have returned to campus. Influenza hits college age students particularly hard, so it’s important we prepare as comprehensively as possible. Please review the following information and recommendations so that we all serve our community appropriately and effectively. 

The Centers for Disease Control recommend that anyone with flu-like symptoms stay at home--away from classes and offices and all other public areas--until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours, without the aid of fever-lowering medications. The illness typically lasts from three to five days which may result in absences. See the CDC’s website for further information about symptoms and treatment.

We encourage all members of the campus community to obtain a flu shot if you have not already done so. In the next few days, we will share information about obtaining flu shots at the Wellness Center. Meantime, you may obtain a vaccination from your primary care physician or at local pharmacies, including at these nearby stores: Rite Aid at Ballenger and Corunna roads and Walgreens at Ballenger and Beecher roads. 

Today, students received information about seasonal influenza, and its potential, through special communications and information sessions. Flu information is posted throughout campus and on the Wellness Center website.

Students’ treatment for the flu in the Wellness Center and at McLaren Family Medicine Residency Center may result in short-term disability accommodations. The Wellness Center will contact you via email as these situations arise. Some students, however, will obtain medical advice elsewhere, or not at all. Please send the Wellness Center names of students who report illnesses to you. (It’s possible, of course, that some students will use a flu outbreak as an excuse to avoid schoolwork or the consequences of not doing it. If you question the validity of a student’s absence, please contact the Wellness Center or the Dean of Students’ office.) 

We will encourage ill students to return to their family homes. In cases where travel is not possible or would put others at risk, students will be housed and fed in a specially-designated section of Thompson Hall. 

Please prepare for higher than usual absences by planning ahead, following these recommendations, adapted from the CDC:

Encourage students to:

Seek medical treatment at the Wellness Center for flu-like symptoms. 

Self-isolate until they have been fever-free for 24 hours, without the aid of fever-lowering medications. 

Exchange contact information with classmates.

Build flexibility regarding attendance, missed exams, late assignments, etc., into your courses, so that students are not unfairly penalized for an illness that may last as long as five to seven days. (Keep in mind that sick and recovering students will fall behind in all their classes; catching up will require time.)

Be prepared to adjust your expectations if attendance falls too low to allow meaningful classroom experiences or should you become ill and unable to hold class. (See below for more on ill faculty and staff.)

Provide methods for sending and receiving class materials electronically.

Provide information to your students on how best to contact you outside of class, particularly through electronic means.

Send the Wellness Center the names of students who report illnesses to you.

Faculty and staff members are also at risk for becoming ill with the flu. If you become ill, stay home until you are fever-free for 24-hours, without the aid of fever-lowering medications. In some cases, a colleague may be able to cover classes. In others, canceling or rescheduling classes may be necessary. In any case, notify your students (whenever possible) and your department head. Staff members should follow their departmental procedures for reporting absences. 

We are working very hard to minimize the likelihood of a flu outbreak at Kettering. At the same time, we want to ensure our readiness. We will communicate with the community as circumstances warrant. If you have comments or suggestions, send them to me at bhomsher@kettering.edu You may direct questions about the flu and medical treatment to the Wellness Center, wellness@kettering.edu. Also, you will find a wealth of information about the illness at the Centers for Disease Control website.

Working together, we can help minimize contagion and promote the health and well-being of students, faculty, and staff. 

Thanks for your cooperation.

Sincerely,

Betsy Homsher
Vice President for Student Life & Dean of Students